I haven't seen the movie The Bucket List yet, but I know its premise: Two guys with terminal illnesses leave the hospital and set out to to do all the things they ever wanted to do in life but hadn't gotten to do yet. There have also been books with similar ideas, such as 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
Now, music critic Tom Moon has come up with an interesting book that's a slight twist on the above: 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. It covers 15 different genres, from blues to world music, but (naturally), I'll concentrate on the jazz section.
Out of 133 entries in the category, I own 24. While I have certain issues with his selections (no Giant Steps; an obscure Cannonball album over Somethin' Else or Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; very little big band beyond Basie and Ellington [no Thad Jones??]; very little overall from the past 10 years), but overall, this list digs deeper than just the "greatest hits," and it would be a decent reference for someone starting a jazz collection.
Feel free to browse the list and add your own thoughts in the comments.